Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Silence is complicity

Cross-posted at Fight On:

This week, I've read two articles that are particularly chilling and I'm at a loss as to what to do.

The first is this opinion piece by former President Jimmy Carter. Found in The Washington Post and titled: "An Unnecessary War," the article starts thus:

"I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided. After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action. "

The article then spends the next nine paragraphs explaining how Israel is totally to blame for the current hostilities in Gaza. If I have seen such a maniacal screed by someone of the stature of a former president of the United States, I cannot recall it. I have read Carter's writing in the past; this one has me floored.

My question is: "How do common citizens respond to things like this?" Do we simply whine about the crazy old man in the corner, hoping that no one is paying attention? Do we write the author and newspaper in order to try to set the record straight? Do we send emails to our friends in the media and ask them to write a rebuttal? At this point, none of this feels as if it's enough.

So, this blog post is one small way to not be silent.

The second article that absolutely stopped me in my tracks is a blog post from Melanie Phillips at the website of The Spectator. Very bad things are happening in Europe in regard to the rise of anti-Semitism. Ms. Phillips includes eye witness accounts of violent demonstrations in England. She ends her post with this:

"For silence is complicity, as once gentle, decent, civilised Britain changes before our horrified eyes into something very ugly indeed."

In a trip to Europe this summer, my husband and I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The visitors to the museum slowly and silently made their way through the different levels of the home, going from the normalcy of Anne's father's business that was run from the lower floors of the building to the betrayal of the Frank's, their friends, and the whole of the Jewish population of Europe in the 1940's.

I doubt that one person in that building on that day believed it could happen again.

I do believe that we are close to it happening again.

And we cannot be silent.